There was anxiety in Harare’s high-density suburbs over the weekend and Monday following the sighting of armed soldiers driving around the townships in gun-mounted armoured vehicles ahead of planned protests by civic society groups today (Tuesday).
But Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said he was unaware soldiers were patrolling the streets of Harare’s high-density suburbs or anywhere else in the country. “I’m not aware of that,” he said last night.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Overson Mugwisi also professed ignorance of such a development.
He promised to check with the relevant authorities, but by the time of going to print last night, he said he had heard of no such thing.
Contrary to their denials, NewsDay witnessed soldiers driving through several high-density suburbs in Harare on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
NewsDay also received calls from anxious residents talking about the presence of armed soldiers in Kambuzuma, Glen View, Glen Norah, Budiriro and Chitungwiza.
Civil society organisations are organising protests against the inclusive government.
The government seems to be taking seriously threats by the civic groups to protest against the resurgence of politically-motivated violence and the failure by the police to stem the disturbances.
The groups are also against the holding of elections this year, saying the environment was not yet conducive.